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Barlow: Liberals fail to act on rural crime

Conservative MPs last week blasted the Liberal government’s report on rural crime.
The public safety committee released a three-page report on rural crime last month.
“The minimal findings included in the report ignore witness testimonies and deflects responsibility to address the incidents of rural crime to the provinces,” Foothills MP John Barlow said.
Barlow said the report fails to address key issues which arose from witnesses including the lack of RCMP and police resources that lead to response delays in rural communities.
Barlow said the report also fails to clarify rules in the Criminal Code pertaining to property rights, self-defence and the “revolving door” in the justice system.
“Nor does this report provide recommendations to address financial struggles, mental health and lack of services faced by victims,” Barlow said.
Witnesses from across Canada travelled to Ottawa to provide testimony and emotional accounts of their experiences of rural crime.
Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs called the lack of recommendations for action in the report an “affront to every rural Canadian who lives in fear of being victimized.”
Stubbs pointed out the Liberals initially supported her private members bill on rural crime but failed to include those recommendations in the report.
“Clearly, the dramatic increase in rural crime is not a priority to the Liberals,” Stubbs said. “After initially supporting this motion, it is unconscionable that the Liberals would dismiss the opportunity to take action on this pressing public safety crisis.”
Stubbs cited Statistic Canada in pointing out rural crime is 23 per cent higher than in urban areas.
In the prairie provinces rural crime was 36 to 42 per cent higher than in urban areas, based on 2017 data.
“The Liberals’ lack of response absolutely disrespects the personal struggles and anxiety faced by families in rural communities who no longer feel safe in their own homes,” Barlow said.
Barlow said rural crime has steadily increased and law enforcement has been unable to mount an adequate response due to limited resources.
Barlow pointed out the Liberals also ignored a report on rural crime prepared by a Conservative task force that held town hall meetings.
“Liberals have once again exposed their callous attitude toward rural Canadians and their neglect to address the epidemic of rural crime,” Barlow said. “It is only when we put Canadians ahead of political allegiances we can address the need of the many victims of crime in rural communities.”